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Marlins trade for Blue Jays prospect Jordan Groshans

It’s a three-for-one deal that sends Miami relievers Anthony Bass and Zach Pop to Toronto along with a player to be named later.

Toronto Blue Jays infielder Jordon Groshans (76) looks on during workouts at Toronto Blue Jays Player Development Complex. Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

At the MLB trade deadline, I was hoping to see the Marlins consolidate several pieces in order to get a reliable, nearly major league-ready hitter. That’s what they did in packaging Anthony Bass, Zach Pop and a player to be named later to obtain shortstop Jordan Groshans from the Blue Jays. The trade is now official.

Groshans was selected 12th overall by the Jays in the 2018 MLB Draft. The Marlins, who held the 13th pick, would have considered taking him for themselves if available, per Mish.

The Magnolia, Texas native emerged as a consensus Top 100 MLB prospect, playing predominantly shortstop at the lower minor league levels while hitting at an above-average level against significantly older competition.

The start of Gorshans’ 2022 campaign was delayed by a few weeks due to an oblique injury. After a brief rehab stint, he was assigned to Triple-A Buffalo.

Groshans’ MiLB career stats
Groshans’ MiLB career stats

Groshans has continued to demonstrate great contact skills in his age-22 season (career-best 16.5% strikeout rate). However, he hasn’t tapped into much of his power potential. He’s slashing .250/.348/.296 (82 wRC+) with one home run in 67 games at Triple-A. He didn’t produce extra-base hits of any kind over his last 15 games with Buffalo. Understandably, that was put somewhat of a dent in his prospect stock.

Here’s more Groshans intel from Baseball America:

Groshans stands out for his feel for hitting. He can square up good fastballs, adjust to offspeed pitches and has good strike-zone judgement with an approach that allows him to use the whole field. He tightened his swing by condensing some of the bigger movements he had previously, which helped him stay more under control rather than trying to cheat to get to more power. Figuring out how to tap back into more game power will be critical for Groshans, who probably ends up at third base. Some evaluators are skeptical that his bat speed and approach will ever result in big power numbers, while others think he could get to average or better power.

From FanGraphs:

He still projects to third base, and that combined with Groshans’ surprisingly low high-end exit velos caused us to do a fairly extensive re-evaluation, as corner infielders don’t typically project as everyday players without impact power. On paper, his skill set reads more like the last half-decade of Evan Longoria’s production than that of a 30-homer threat, and the perceived variance of Groshans’ outcomes has narrowed. Ultimately, what he did as a 21-year-old at Double-A was impressive, the average major-league batting line has fallen each of the last two years, and we’re still comfortable projecting Groshans as a good big leaguer, but not a star.

From Just Baseball:

Groshans is not the most exciting prospect in the world, but he is a higher probability big league regular who still has room for a bit more offensive upside. High batting average and high on-base will likely continue to be the calling card for Groshans. If he can tap into even 20+ home run power, Groshans could be a comfortably above-average regular.

Miguel Rojas has been the Marlins starting shortstop for the vast majority of this season, but he’s 33 years old and his offensive numbers have taken a step back from his 2019-2021 peak. Their starting third baseman for much of the last half-decade, Brian Anderson, is eligible for free agency after the 2023 season. Same goes for Joey Wendle. The Fish needed to find candidates to potentially succeed them on the left side of the infield.

If Groshans’ bat catches fire over the next month-plus, maybe he gets a cup of coffee in the majors before season’s end. The more likely scenario is he enters 2023 spring training battling for a spot on the active roster.

Anthony Bass was brilliant as Miami’s setup man this season (1.41 ERA, 2.06 FIP, .198 BAA in 44.2 IP), bouncing back from an aggravating 2021 campaign.

Zach Pop has split time between Triple-A Jacksonville and the Marlins roster (3.60 ERA, 2.82 FIP, .288 BA in 20.0 IP). I’ve been fascinated by the uptick in his sinker usage (83.2% of his total pitches). While Bass is a lock to pitch important innings for the Blue Jays in August/September/October, it’s unclear how much responsibility Pop will have.